Prince Harry and Meghan Markle launched their joint Instagram account on April 2, writing that they would be using their new platform to share "the work that drives us, the causes we support, important announcements, and the opportunity to shine a light on key issues."
As stated by the BBC, the username — @sussexroyal — was acquired from a West Sussex resident named Kevin Keiley. Keiley, who works as a driving instructor, claims that the handle was stolen from him without permission. Keiley had that specific handle because of where he lives and his favourite soccer team, Reading FC, which is nicknamed after the royals. Despite the account being rendered inactive (to be fair, Instagram does have a policy surrounding the acquisition of inactive usernames), the Worthing resident says that he still liked to occasionally browse through his feed.
His handle was automatically changed to @_sussexroyal_, which he was unaware of until he was alerted by his son to via text message. "I got a jokey text from my son which said 'Ha ha, I see your handle has gone then,'" Keiley said.
Keiley further added that he was "annoyed" that no one from the royal family or Instagram reached out about taking his handle. “I didn’t ask for this," he continued. "I’ve had the account for years. It’s not very pleasant." While @sussexroyal now officially belongs to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Instagram, Keiley isn't quite ready to give up the username just yet as he still maintains its ownership on Twitter.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are yet to come forward and comment on the alleged 'gram stealing scandal.